One faculty member's Fulbright journey in Portugal



Author: Dr. Sydney Chinchanachokchai, Associate Professor of Marketing

In the spring of 2024, I had the opportunity to spend four months in Lisbon, Portugal as part of my Fulbright award in marketing, communication and media studies at the Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon. This transformative experience was marked by research, teaching, cultural exploration and personal growth, and I am thrilled to share some highlights with you.

FB7.jpgBased on my research expertise in cross-cultural marketing, I collaborated with a team of Portuguese scholars on a research project and a book focusing on influencer marketing across cultures. This research explored how cultural differences impact perceptions and motivations to engage in influencer marketing among young consumers. Working alongside the Portuguese colleagues provided me with new insights and perspectives on Portuguese consumers, which I then compared them to my own knowledge and understanding of American consumers. I look forward to sharing our findings in future publications and presentations.

My other role as the Fulbright scholar was to teach the Integrated Communications class at the graduate level. Engaging with students from diverse backgrounds (e.g., Portugal, Brazil and Cabo Verde) proved both challenging and rewarding. Their enthusiasm and curiosity about communication theories and practice were inspiring. I also learned about Portuguese brands and media consumption behaviors through presentations and conversations with the students.

FB2.jpg FB3.jpgDuring my stay, I made the most of my free time by traveling around Portugal. From the picturesque wineries in the Douro Valley to the stunning volcanic islands in the Azores, each region had its unique charm. I attended traditional festivals, football (soccer) games and sampled various delicious Portuguese dishes and wine. These experiences not only broadened my culinary horizons but also deepened my appreciation for Portugal’s rich cultural heritage and their passion for “futebol.” As an avid runner and a triathlete, I also participated in several running races across Portugal. The best moment in my running career was when I climbed to the top of the volcano and ran about one mile along the Caldera on Faial Island in the Azores during a trail race. It was one of the most beautiful races I have done.

Thank you, the Fulbright Program and Fulbright Portugal, for the opportunity to enrich my academic and professional journey as well as broaden my cultural horizons and personal growth.